Hatfield School of Music and Drama

David Hutton

Hatfield School of Music and Drama was a new venture inaugurated in 1960. It met in Burleigh Secondary Modern School in Wellfield Road, and had a choir and an orchestra, with Hratch Gasparian as Leader (1st violin), and a conductor who died after a year or so. He was succeeded by Vernon Handley, who went on to become a famous conductor of well-known orchestras and a supporter of the music of English composers. We found him a very likeable, able and encouraging conductor who got us to sing and play well, and felt lucky to have had him.
Most of the members of our famiy took part – I sang bass and played oboe, for example – and my elder brother met his wife-to-be there. I had learnt to play the oboe at Hatfield School under Mr. Haskins, and played in the school orchestra. Since then I’ve sung in Choral Societies wherever I’ve been living, and played double bass for about 10 years in the Cobweb Orchestra, largely in County Durham: https://cobweborchestra.org.uk/
Of the other members I can only remember two at the moment, who also played in Hatfield School orchestra. Sheila Davies played violin, and Beryl Foster ‘cello; she was the Orchestra’s librarian; she became Chairman of the Grieg Society of Great Britain, and President of the International Grieg Society.
Can anyone give some more information, particularly about the Drama side?

This page was added on 27/10/2019.

Comments about this page

  • I agree with David about the value of the music. Vernon Handley gave me the best piece of advice I ever had: “Don’t have faith in the future. Create your own”!

    By Beryl Foster (05/11/2019)

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